Wednesday, September 30, 2015

How are the DEMA Show Location and Timing Selected?

**Meeting the Varied Geographic and Business Cycle Needs of the Industry**

DEMA Show, the annual trade-only event for the dive industry, attracts almost 10,000 diving professionals each year. DEMA Show venues are selected to create the best trade show experience, taking into account the diverse geographic, show timing and overall cost needs of Attendees and Exhibitors. Venues are selected three to five years in advance of the Show.
Show locations and timing are determined using Attendee and Exhibitor surveys as well as by researching convention center and hotel availability. DEMA Show is one of the 250 largest trade shows in the United States and as such, there are a limited number of convention facilities large enough to hold the annual event. When evaluating and selecting the convention facilities, city, and hotels, DEMA uses Board-approved criteria including:
  • The city must have cultural or entertainment attractions and special event venues appealing to the diving professional.  There should be a variety of restaurants and other entertainment within a 10 minute walking distance of the host hotel/convention center.
  • The Show city must be a major airline destination for North American and international travelers.  The city should have a substantial number of direct flights coming into the city, and be a hub for at least one major airline.
  • “Blended” labor rates for the city must be within 10% of the median average as compared to the convention industry market for the previous five years.
  • The convention facility must meet DEMA’s exhibit and meeting space requirements, and be in a location convenient to major hotels, the international airport and city points of interest.  The minimum conventions center size is 500,000 gross square feet.
  • The convention facility must include a minimum of 30 meeting rooms in the convention center, capable of holding at least 50 to 100 people while using classroom style seating.
  • There must be first-class hotels convenient to the convention and exhibit facility for 10,000 attendees.  Hotel facilities should accommodate a minimum of 1,200 to 1,400 rooms peak night pick up, with 4,000 minimum total room nights required within DEMA’s block.  This number of hotel rooms must be within a 5-mile radius/15 minutes travel time (whichever is less) of the convention center.
 “Throughout the years, DEMA has surveyed Show Attendees and Exhibitors about their preferred dates and locations for DEMA Show,” commented Tom Ingram, Executive Director of DEMA. “While the majority of survey respondents prefer the fall, the general requirement is that the Show should be held during a time of the year when there is as little direct interference with the day to day business of as many Attendees and Exhibitors as possible. And of course, DEMA must ensure that the Show takes place during a time that is conducive to traveling to feasible destination cities to conduct business. The DEMA Board and staff have taken this feedback into consideration when contracting future venues and will continue to evaluate new venues as they become available.”
Currently, DEMA Show is in a two-city rotation between Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, FL and the Las Vegas Convention Center in Las Vegas, NV. Both conventions centers are located in a major city and gateway and both cities are ranked in the top five convention cities in the United States. DEMA is actively seeking a third city for the rotation and hopes to contract with a venue that has generated great Member interest during previous years. Stay tuned for additional details in an upcoming DEMAIL and at the annual DEMA membership meeting taking place Thursday, November 5th at 8:30 a.m. at DEMA Show 2015.
DEMA Show 2015 will be held at that Orange County Convention Center, Orlando, FL from November 4-7, 2015. Additional DEMA Show dates and locations can be found online here.
For more information on DEMA Show, including the Show cities for the next few years, visit

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Image & Technical Diving Resource Centers at DEMA Show Can Help Improve Businesses & Careers

**Free Technical Diving and Underwater Photography/Videography-Related Sessions Provided Daily Directly on the Show Floor**
DEMA Show Attendees wishing to make the most of their Show experience are encouraged to visit the Image Resource Center (IRC) and Technical Diving Resource Center (TDRC) at DEMA Show, held at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, FL, November 4 – 7, 2015. By visiting these two Centers, Attendees can expect to find ideas they can apply to their own operations to help their businesses and careers.
Located in booth #357, the Image Resource Center hosts numerous Exhibitors offering affiliated photography and videography products and services. Throughout the Show, Exhibitors will be hosting sessions that provide important tips on image-related topics, including how to incorporate photography and videography into dive retailers’ business strategies. To view a complete schedule of the 23 sessions being offered at the IRC, click here.
In the Technical Diving Resource Center, Attendees have the opportunity to discover the latest innovations in technical diving gear. Located in booth #1757, the TDRC is dedicated to Attendees seeking technical diving-related Exhibitors. The Center will feature sessions on technical diving that will help Attendees incorporate more advanced tech diving into their business plan. For additional information on the 18 sessions that are being offered in the TDRC, click here.
These FREE sessions are open to all DEMA Show Attendees and Exhibitors. For more information visit

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

DEMA's Latest Research Initiative Designed to Understand Industry Advertising Practices

** Survey Participants Incentivized with Complimentary Seminar Pass Upgrade for DEMA Show 2015 **
DEMA has announced a new retailer research initiative which will survey retail members of the diving industry to help understand industry-wide advertising and promotional benchmarks. The first 100 retail participants to answer all questions and submit their completed survey will be sent a gift certificate for a complimentary seminar pass upgrade good for DEMA Show 2015 (exhibits only registration and credentials required).
“The objective of conducting this research is to be able to provide retail dive centers with data that will help them guide and evaluate their own advertising activities,” commented Tom Ingram, Executive Director of DEMA. “This is a benchmarking study on a topic not explored by the industry for many years, but which is critical to understanding how professional retailers are reaching out to new consumers and current customers.  The resulting data will make it possible to increase advertising effectiveness for every retailer and help other stakeholders understand how to serve the retailer more efficiently.”
The survey will collect advertising data which is segmented by geographic location; store volume and staffing; various advertising methods and expenses; and effectiveness and conversion for both digital and conventional media.
Dive retailers are invited to complete the survey here: DEMA Dive Industry Retailer Advertising Survey
Deadline to complete the survey is October 13, 2015 so act now for your chance to receive a complimentary seminar pass upgrade for DEMA Show 2015! Initial survey results will be published in time for DEMA Show 2015, and the completed data set released to the industry later in the year.

DEMA Submits Comments Opposing US Department of Labor’s Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to Amend FLSA

The Diving Equipment and Marketing Association (DEMA) recently submitted comments opposing certain aspects of the U.S. Department of Labor’s July 6, 2015 Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) to amend the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) regulations implementing the exemption from minimum wage and overtime pay for executive, administrative, professional, outside sales, and computer employees (known as the “white collar” or “EAP” exemptions). The comments were submitted by Tom Ingram, Executive Director of DEMA, on behalf of the Association.
DEMA supports the principle in President Obama’s March 13, 2014 Presidential Memorandum that the FLSA regulations need to be modernized and streamlined. However, DEMA has heard from numerous members expressing serious concerns about the significant impact of the changes proposed in the NPRM. It is DEMA’s belief that changing the FLSA by merely altering the definition of the exempt employee salary threshold seems to be inadequate to meet the President’s goal of “modernizing and streamlining” the law and the diving industry, both business and workers, may suffer greatly.
 “It is our fear that should these changes in the NPRM be enacted as written, the changes would have a devastating effect on our Industry. In order to control overall labor costs, we see a number of strategies being implemented by industry business that could ultimately result in industry employees experiencing a reduction in compensation, work hours, benefits, ability to attend educational and technical conferences, and so on,” commented Ingram. “In an industry where labor is amongst the highest costs, and our consumers require such personal attention, we fear that this will ultimately lead to increased prices for our customers and in turn, reduced demand as price-sensitive consumers move to other recreational activities that are less labor-intensive and consequently less expensive,” Ingram concluded.
Some of DEMA’s suggestions for updating and modernizing the FLSA include regional/state salary thresholds, a lower exempt threshold, and greater flexibility for non-exempt employees.
For more information, see all of the comments posted on the website and the official commentssubmitted by DEMA. DEMA will continue to monitor the progress of these rules and is prepared to comment further.

Department of the Navy Issues Final Rules on Recreational Diver Access to Sunken Military Vessels

The Department of the Navy (DoN) has issued its final rules on the disposition of sunken military craft including an updated procedure required for research and other activities on these sunken vessels.  Importantly, according to a letter DEMA has received from the DoN, “…activities such as fishing, snorkeling and diving which are not intended to disturb, remove or injure any portion of a sunken military craft are still allowed without the need for a permit.” The revised regulations permitting investigations of sunken military craft under the jurisdiction of the DoN were published in the Federal Register Monday, August 31, 2015. The new regulations won’t officially go into effect until March 1, 2016.
DEMA has been in communication with the DoN for well over a year on this issue.  In April of 2014, DEMA, on behalf of the industry, reached out to the DoN to determine the extent to which rules proposed in January of 2014(page 620; 32 CFR Part 767; RIN 0703-AA90) would impact routine recreational scuba diving activities in or about sunken vessels/wrecks.  In his response, Dr. J.B, Thomas, Assistant Director for Collection Management with the DoN indicated that, “the Department of the Navy, through its regulations, does not intend to restrict access to those DoN craft purposely sunk to establish artificial reefs or to other sunken former Navy vessels of which United States' title has been expressly divested. The final rule will explicitly clarify this matter.”
With the publication of the new rules in the Federal Register of Monday, August 31, 2015 , DEMA is pleased that the final rules applying to recreational diving do not prohibit diving on military sites or vessels when there is no intent to disturb these sites.
 “The final rules make it clear that these regulations are designed to preserve these sites, while allowing for divers to visit them,” said Tom Ingram, DEMA’s Executive Director.  “By preserving these wrecks in situ, all divers will have the opportunity to visit and enjoy them.”
Of particular interest to the recreational diving industry is the clear statement within the rules which reads:
“Non-intrusive activities including diving on or remotely documenting sites do not require a permit or authorization from the Naval History and Heritage Command (NHHC), though this rule does not preclude the obligation to obtain permits or authorizations otherwise required by law.  The regulations stipulate an application process for disturbance, removal or injury of sunken military craft under the jurisdiction of the DoN.”
Further, the new rules indicate that, “The rule also incorporates provisions for a special use permit to be issued in case of certain activities directed at sunken military craft that would result in a wreck site’s disturbance, removal or injury, but otherwise would be minimally intrusive.  The standards that must be met for special use permits are more easily attainable as are the reporting requirements, though data collected shall be shared with the NHHC.”
DEMA encourages all members of the diving industry to familiarize themselves with the new rules in their entirety and share the information with their customers and diving communities. 

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

DEMA’s Board of Directors Assembles for Quarterly Meeting

On August 19th, the DEMA Board of Directors gathered for their Quarterly Board Meeting to move the association forward on matters impacting the industry.  Discussion included retailer resources & retail-level research, recommended next steps for creating a major consumer marketing campaign to help all sectors of the diving industry and DEMA Show recommendations. Following approval of the consent agenda, key topics and actions from this quarter’s committee work were discussed and the following actions were taken:
Retailer Resources & Research
The Retailer Resource Committee and the Research Committee joined forces to create and present plans for a retailer survey to the Board. Discussion included methods of distribution and outreach, incentives for participants and vital information to be tracked.  The survey will be distributed in the coming weeks. Additionally, DEMA is currently undergoing test case studies to establish successful location-based marketing tactics to help attract new consumers to retail dive centers.

Industry-Wide Consumer Marketing Campaign
The Board reviewed progress on DEMA’s industry-wide diving consumer marketing campaign plans and further discussed the recommended slogan for the campaign. The group agreed that DEMA would host webinars as well as a meeting at DEMA Show to collaborate with DEMA Members and Industry businesses to help spread the campaign message in an effort to grow the industry. Under the recommendation of the consumer marketing committee, marketing agency Mob Media was invited to join the meeting to present their consumer marketing campaign proposal to the entire Board. After detailed discussion the Board agreed to move forward with the campaign under Mob Media’s guidance.

DEMA Mission Task Force Report
The progress of the mission task force to evaluate the mission statement was discussed by the Board. The task force has determined the “elements” and capabilities that will help make DEMA Members successful and is now weighing how these elements can be incorporated into DEMA’s mission and goals to help forge the future direction of the association. The task force and Board agree that a succinct and memorable mission statement that includes the importance of DEMA’s tradeshow while helping to connect Members was recommended.

DEMA Show Recommendations
The Board discussed details of a proposed trial membership for non-member registrants of DEMA Show. They then reviewed the increasing cost per net square foot being incurred by the Association due to incremental costs increases for Show venues and service contractors. After reviewing booth space pricing for similar trade shows and industry consumer shows as well as the items included in each booth package the Board voted to implement a minor price adjustment for DEMA Show 2016 with a pricing review recommended for DEMA Show 2017.  

DEMA’s Committees can be found here.  The DEMA Board will meet again just prior to November’s DEMA Show.   More information on DEMA’s Board of Directors and Bylaws is available on the DEMA website. Complete minutes from past Board of Directors Meetings are available to current DEMA Members from the Member Dashboard